Pendant lights are like jewellery to a room. Whilst they can be a stunning design feature in their own right they also bring your room design together to create a sense of completeness.
So how do you choose the right pendant light for your space?
1. Consider the function of your pendant light:
- Ambient lighting (general lighting). Glass pendant lights work really well in this situation as they bounce the light around the room. Consider including a dimmer switch so you change the level of lighting too.
- Task lighting (for instance above a kitchen bench)
- Accent lighting (to highlight a particular feature). You might hang a pendant light above a beautifully carved table to draw the eye to it and create a stunning vignette.
- Decorative lighting (a design feature in its own right). Consider hanging a cluster of pendant lights together to create a striking feature. As a general rule odd numbers work best when clustering items so start off with 3 lights and go from there. Or choose a larger, stunning pendant light that is a piece of art and a light combined. If you want your lighting to really be a star feature look for lights that cast reflections and shadows on your walls and ceiling.
These 4 types of lighting are not mutually exclusive but work cohesively together.
2. Practicalities: where will you hang your pendant light and how high should it be?
Pendant lights that are to hang in an open space such as the hallway should be at least 2.1m above the ground to give adequate clearance.
Pendant lights above kitchen bench tops should be hung 55-75cm above the bench top to avoid your head knocking them during food prep.
Pendant lights above a dining room table should be hung 1.7m from the floor or 70-80cm above the table top to allow for comfortable conversation. Remember to have a dimmer switch installed so you can combine task lighting (for reading the Sunday papers whilst eating breakfast) with soft ambient lighting for when you have a dinner party.
Pendant lights above the bedside table should hang 50-60 cm above the table. If the light is to be used for reading they should hang higher but if it’s for ambient lighting it can hang as low as you like!
3. The size of the space in which your pendant light will hang.
Just as when we hang paintings it’s important to consider the size of the wall they will hang on in relation to the size of the painting, so it is equally important that we consider the size of the space in which the pendant light will hang.
If the light is too small it will be lost, too large and it will overwhelm. Use cardboard cut outs to give you an idea of what would work in your space. If you fall in love with a small pendant light consider clustering a few of them together if the space is large.
So, the three practical key things to consider when buying a pendant light: function, height, space. Combine these with your overall design aesthetic and your love of a certain style and you’ll be sure to get it right.